The histamine levels in samples from platelet concentrates (PC) were measured at various storage times by a radioenzymatic assay. Elevated histamine levels were detected in 5 of 14 PC after 3 days of storage (range, less than 1 to 13.3 ng/ml) and in 9 of 14 PC after 5 days (range, less than 1 to 22.2 ng/ml). A very good linear correlation (r = 0.913) was found between the initial white cell content of the PC and the histamine level at 5 days of storage. The rise in histamine content was not influenced by the type of plastic container. The results indicate a process of histamine release by the white cells during storage. Although histamine is metabolized rapidly in vivo, a critical histamine threshold could be reached in man by the rapid infusion of stored PC containing high levels of histamine. This could explain some unexpected transfusion reactions in patients receiving PC.